7 Traits of a Highly Effective Mindset

7 Traits of a Highly Effective Mindset

Once your mindset changes, everything on
the outside will change along with it.
―Steve Maraboli

An effective mindset is one that makes the best use of available resources – your time, energy and efforts – and uses them to create positive change.  It’s not about trying to do everything and be everything; it’s making the very best of what you have while enjoying the process of living.

Here are seven effective traits and behaviors of such a mindset:

1.  Enjoys and appreciates the present moment.

Happiness is a mindset that can only be designed into the present.  It’s not a point in the future or a moment from the past; but sadly, this misconception hurts the masses.  So many young people seem to think that happiness awaits them in the years ahead, while so many older people believe that their best moments are behind them.

The truth is, the greater part of your happiness or misery depends solely upon your attitude towards any given moment, regardless of the events contained within.  You need much less than you think you need to be happy, and you usually have a lot more than you think you have.  There’s always something worth smiling about.  It’s just a matter of thinking differently.  Read 1,000 Little Things.

2.  Connects inner purpose with outer effort.

The most important thing you can know is what’s most important to you.  Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give yourself to it.  As Friedrich Nietzsche so profoundly said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  Your purpose is your ‘why.’

You can accomplish almost anything when what you’re trying to accomplish is what you care about.  Wear yourself out with focused, disciplined work on a purpose that connects with who you truly are.  You have a unique voice and a unique drive that are longing to be expressed.  Start living sincerely though this expression and you’ll find the joy and success you’ve been hoping for.

3.  Accepts and embraces great challenges.

The most prolific days of your life won’t likely be easy.  It’s not in the serenity of your comfort zone or the inactivity of a lazy day that drives greatness.  Great demands drive the growth of great virtues.  Contending with great challenges forms the foundation of greatness.

Think about a day from your past that ended with a sense of satisfaction.  It’s not a day when you lounged around with nothing to do; it’s a day you had more to do than seemed possible, and you did it.  When your mind is challenged by duties that engage your purpose, then those great virtues, which would otherwise lay dormant, come to life and help you grow into your greatest self.  Read Awaken the Giant Within.

4.  Self-disciplined.

Without discipline, success is impossible, period.  Discipline is choosing to do what you know must be done, as often and as long as required.  It’s doing the thing you have to do whether you like it or not.

Discipline allows you to control the course of your life.  If you do not discipline yourself, someone else – a parent, teacher, boss, society, etc. – will try to do so for you.  They will choose what they believe is the best method to instill more self-control in you.  But it’s far more advantageous to take control of your own discipline and your own destiny.

Discipline opens up a plethora of options and opportunities which otherwise would not be available to you.  With it you can make best possible use of the time and resources available to you, and employ them to create great value for yourself and your world.  Whatever you set your sights upon, discipline is the vehicle that will get you there.

5.  Remains positive and focused through failure.

Forget about failure.  Trying alone is a huge success.  Regardless of what you’re trying to do – pay off debt, get in shape, start a business, make a difference in the world, etc. – you have already achieved something wonderful simply by putting forth a worthy effort.  If things don’t work out as you had planned, hold your head up high and be proud of the progress you made.  Then make the necessary adjustments and try again.

In the end, it’s focused resilience that eventually leads you to your desired result.  Once you make a conscious decision to remain positive and persist through your failures, the universe gradually conspires to make your efforts rewarding.

6.  Filters and channels anger effectively.

Being angry is easy, and by itself anger gets nothing accomplished.  But to funnel your anger into a productive action plan, at the right time, in the right way, and for the right purpose, that’s how you can put your anger to good use.

In other words, you must direct your anger towards specific problems that can be solved, not people or generalized situations.  Look for answers and resolutions, not excuses and complaints.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

7.  Willingness and drive to help others.

The best antidote to gloom is constructive work.  The most curing work is found in the challenge of helping someone who has less than you do.  It’s one of life’s great paradoxes; when you serve others you end up benefiting as much if not more than those you serve.

If you feel stuck in your life because you have lost your direction, shift your focus from your circumstances to the circumstances of those around you.  As Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with me?” ask, “How can I help you?”  Find someone who could use an extra hand and make an offer they can’t refuse.

When your focus shifts from your own confusion and difficulties, to the confusion and difficulties of others, and you see yourself making a positive difference, it fills you with a sense of meaning and illuminates a clear path to a brighter future.

Photo by: Hartwig HKD


  1. says

    I find that a lot of people in my life don’t have an efficient mindset. Most aren’t even mildly effective when you really look at what they’re trying to accomplish. Great post and tips.

  2. says

    Such great words to help us live a more mentally present life. Working through my failures is my biggest struggle. I love the way you presented this point. You always have something positive to challenge me with. Thanks.

  3. J. Mayer says

    Some simple and wise words of advice. Perhaps some may see it as common sense, but ultimately it’s good to be reminded of these techniques. I truly appreciate the time you spend putting these thoughts and principles into enjoyable articles for us to read.

  4. says

    One of the most interesting points was about the ability to channel anger into constructive purposes. I think that very few people understand that spirituality can be glanced through both Love and Anger. Two completely polarized concepts that work in aiming the individual into a very accelerated method for growth. Many people seem to just let anger linger around their body, while the more Enlightened approach would be to channel it into effective pathways that aim to push you further. We should be using all of our emotions and abilities, rather than just half of them.

  5. says

    I am a daily reader, and have never before left a comment, but this one inspired me to. Something about this, I needed today! The section on discipline particularly spoke to me as it reminded me of “The Road Less Traveled”, which I have read several times. There is a section devoted to discipline and the basic principals involved therein. Thank you SO much for this blog and your dedication. You help MANY that I am sure you never even know about. God bless!

  6. says

    Every now and then, while scrolling through posts on a reader, you come up to a piece that you want to also scroll through, jump from one paragraph to the next, and move on. But it is not possible as it captivates your mind until the very end. This is one of them. Thank you Marc. ~Paul

  7. Walter Dillard says

    I was going through the loss of relationship with my best friend / girlfriend when I came across this website. It has helped my outlook so much I decided to subscribe to it. I look forward to reading it every day, and then I share it with a few friends. One day I forgot to forward it to one my friends and later that day she asked me what happened – did I forget about her (Diana) – I apologized and immediately pulled out my phone and sent it to her. Great work Marc & Angel. What ever is going on in my life weather good or stressful I know there’s something here that will help make it even better. Thank you.

  8. says

    Self forgiveness is a big one. Learn from your mistakes and go forward. Use this affirmation, “I forgive myself for judging myself for __________ (fill in the blank i.e.: for getting sick, for acting out, for not doing your best.)

  9. Elsie says

    I come into work every day and this is the first email I open and read. It starts my day off and inspires me to be the best I can be daily. Thank you.

  10. says

    Hey Marc,

    For me, your number 1 is also the one I’ve struggled the most with. I tend to make plans for the future all the time, instead of living in the present. But I’m making a conscious effort to change this. Work in progress!

    I think “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle is also a good read on the topic.

    Great tips, thanks!

  11. says

    Mindset is so important in life. It’s actually the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. Think about it. We are all born with the same parts. It’s just that some of us have a different mindset than others which gives us different results. We have to make the best of what we have been given.

  12. says

    The seven traits rang more than seventy chords in me. The biggest of them all is that of discipline. To me like you rightly mentioned,it is the nerve centre of all success! Uncontrolled and wrongly channelled anger is the misiles that destroys success.
    Angel I can not tell you how much impact you are makig on my life and others through me! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

  13. says

    Somehow I came across this site in the past year as my wife was battling Ovarian cancer. I’m a daily reader as well and your thoughts and words have provided me with inspiration and motivation. Keep up the great work! This article in particular has got me thinking even more. Especially 1 and 4.

  14. says

    Having the right tools to keep your mindset effective keeps me on track, that’s why I read your blog, such great information that you just cannot hear/read enough. As always, I appreciate and enjoy your posts.

  15. Karen says

    Love number 2 & 7, and the rest, but 2 especially spoke to me. I have read many books etc. on how but never had a clear why, so I lacked focus. The Nietzsche quote I wrote down & shall refer to often.
    Thank you for you inspiring and real blog.

  16. Paul says

    A word about self-discipline, especially as it intersects with the discipline others impose.

    We know that no one will love us until we learn to love ourselves. I posit that self-discipline does not come until we learn to submit constructively to the will of others.

  17. Joe says

    Amazingly concise and helpful steps here Marc. Please write more about the topic of self-discipline!! :) Thanks for your brilliant advice

  18. says

    @Vincent Nguyen: Great point. Aligning your mindset with your goals is extremely important.

    @Sufian Chaudhary: I agree. Emotion is a powerful yet underutilized tool we all have at our disposal. Instead of letting our emotions control us, we must learn to channel our emotions (energy) into ventures that move us forward.

    @Jonathan Westfall: Thanks so much for leaving us a comment. Your kind words and admiration mean the world to us. Also, The Road Less Traveled happens to be one of my favorite personal development books.

    @Paul L’Acosta and Elsie: Thanks.

    @Walter Dillard: It’s so inspiring to here that we are able to inspire you and your friend. Thanks for spreading the word about our site.

    @John: Awesome affirmation! I’m actually going to use this one today. Thanks for sharing.

    @Cornelius: Yes, The Power Of Now is a must read. Thanks, and good luck on the progress.

    @Jenny: Mindset is the difference between a problem and an opportunity. =)

    @LeeB: Stay strong. You will be in our prayers. And thanks so much for your kindness. So glad we have inspired you.

    @Paul: Excellent addition. Part of self-discipline is how we handle our interactions with others.

    @Joe: We’ll put it in queue. =)

    @Inspired Citizen: Agreed.

    @All: And to everyone else who simply said, “thank you,” we really appreciate hearing from you. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave us a comment.

  19. says

    This is a universal truth, still many – including me – get disillusioned by the hurly burly of our lives. Great and totally awesome post to help us be reminded that it is never too late to take action achieve having a mindset to be efficient and successful.

    Thanks Marc and Angel! :)

  20. Evelyn says

    Dear Marc (or anyone),
    I applied a school that I really want to go and I didn’t get in. What am I supposed to do? What kind of attitude should I have right now?

  21. nadirkhan says

    Marc, you have changed my thinking. Your approach to the frailities of human nature are addressed with such wisdom; I admire your effort to help the underprivileged and to live in the present moment – these thing lead to happiness. Keep up the good work.

  22. says

    @Rhona and nadirkhan: Thank you. Your kind words inspire us to put these articles together. =)

    @Evelyn: You didn’t fail, you just found one possible option that didn’t work out for you in the present. If you think about it, you still have many great options in front of you. Perhaps there are other schools, other (and perhaps cheaper) routes for admission, etc. Stay positive, evaluate the options, pick one and move forward from where you are now.

  23. Jana says

    This is a wonderful blog. I have to wonder where all these inspiring thoughts and ideas come from… As a busy working mom with lots of stress and constant to do lists, it’s nice to have the daily reminders that I don’t have to be controlled by outside pressures in life. Thank you for having such inspiring wisdom!

  24. Peggy says

    What a very wonderful find – a nugget of wisdom

    1. Enjoys and appreciates the present moment. Fretting about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow, and it does not serves us well.

    2. Connects inner purpose with outer effort.
    Finding the ‘why’ – the authentic self and allowing the power of purpose to move us into a fulfillment and tranquility.

    3. Accepts and embraces great challenges.
    There is no growth as long as we remain in our comfort zone. Change is a dynamic of earth, and so much energy is expended on ‘staying the same.’ Go for the gusto, learn. grow, and reflect upon the goodness of change.


  1. Beautiful read. Honestly, every point in this one struck a chord with me. Keep doing what your doing Angel and Marc. It’s making a difference in my life.

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